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Micropsitta
04 34 060 Micropsitta pusio pusio
Buff-faced Pygmy Parrot (Micropsitta pusio)
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Psittaciformes
Psittacoidea
Family Psittaculidae
Psittaculinae
Micropsittini
Genus Micropsitta

Micropsitta or pygmy parrots, is a family of the smallest parrots in the Psittaciformes order. The six species of pygmy parrots are all in the genus Micropsitta, which is the only genus in the Micropsittini tribe.

Pygmy parrots are native to the forests of New Guinea and nearby islands. They are tiny birds, fast-moving, and mostly green with bright highlights. A pygmy parrot spends a good deal of time climbing through foliage, using its large feet and beak, and stiffened tail feathers. At a little over 8 cm (3.1 in) long, the buff-faced pygmy parrot is the smallest parrot species.

Pygmy parrots are also among the few species in the order (other examples include Pyrilia and Nannopsittaca species) that have never been successfully kept, let alone bred, in captivity. All attempts to do so have resulted in the quick deaths of the little birds. Stress and dietary deficiencies are probably to blame. Pygmy parrots are among the few birds that feed on fungi and lichens, which play a major role in their diet. Their precise dietary needs are poorly understood.

Description

Pygmy parrots are the smallest parrots and range is size from about 8 to 10 cm (3.1 to 3.9 in). They have long toes and long, curved claws. The shafts of their tail feathers are stiff and form projections at the end of the tail. The cere is prominent. The external appearance of the adult males and adult females differ to varying extents in different species. Juveniles are duller.

Taxonomy

The genus was defined by French naturalist René-Primevère Lesson in 1831. The name Micropsitta is derived from the Greek mikros meaning small and psitta for parrot.

The pygmy parrots consist of six species and several subspecies:

Red-breasted Pygmy Parrot (Salvadori, 1875) (Micropsitta bruijnii)
 Micropsitta bruijnii bruijnii (Salvadori, 1875)
 Micropsitta bruijnii buruensis (Arndt, 1999)
 Micropsitta bruijnii necopinata (Hartert, 1925)
 Micropsitta bruijnii pileata (Mayr, 1940)
 Micropsitta bruijnii rosea (Mayr, 1940)
Finsch's Pygmy Parrot (Ramsay, 1881) (Micropsitta finschii)
 Micropsitta finschii aolae (Ogilvie-Grant, 1888)
 Micropsitta finschii finschii (Ramsay, 1881)
 Micropsitta finschii nanina (Tristram, 1891)
 Micropsitta finschii tristrami (Rothschild & Hartert, 1902)
 Micropsitta finschii viridifrons (Rothschild & Hartert, 1899)
Geelvink Pygmy Parrot (Schlegel, 1871) (Micropsitta geelvinkiana)
 Micropsitta geelvinkiana geelvinkiana (Schlegel, 1871)
 Micropsitta geelvinkiana misoriensis (Schlegel, 1876)
Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot (Salvadori, 1875) (Micropsitta keiensis)
 Micropsitta keiensis chloroxantha (Oberholser, 1917)
 Micropsitta keiensis keiensis (Salvadori, 1876)
 Micropsitta keiensis viridipectus (Rothschild, 1911)
Meek's Pygmy Parrot (Rothschild & Hartert, 1914) (Micropsitta meeki)
 Micropsitta meeki meeki (Rothschild & Hartert, 1914)
 Micropsitta meeki proxima (Rothschild & Hartert, 1924)
Buff-faced Pygmy Parrot (Sclater, 1866) (Micropsitta pusio)
 Micropsitta pusio beccarii (Salvadori, 1876)
 Micropsitta pusio harterti (Mayr 1940)
 Micropsitta pusio pusio (Sclater, 1866)
 Micropsitta pusio stresemanni (Hartert, 1926)
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